187 varieties of hairspray

The end of the world is nigh; 2012 to be precise. And considering the state of the world today, and the state of our so-called culture, you'd have to admit it's looking pretty bleak. Thing is, I doubt it will be the end of the world. The end of the species may very well be nigh, but the world--Gaia--will get on very well without humans. And good riddance.

So what's 'wrong' with the currently predominating culture? Nothing is wrong (or right) in absolute terms. There is no good or evil, right or wrong. There is only that which serves the relevant purpose, and that which does not serve the purpose. So what's 'wrong' with the currently predominating culture? Is it that we refuse to recognise or acknowledge any limits to or constraints on economic growth? Or the triumph of shareholder value over personal values? The triumph of individual values over group values? Is it the fact that we are poisoning ourselves? (If humans are so smart, how come they piss in their own water supply? That's not evil. It's not bad or wrong. But it certainly does not serve the purpose of having a potable water supply.) Is it that we have gone so far down the relativist road---the slippery slope---that we cannot see or understand or value one thing over another so we end up valuing nothing at all?

But let's not get bogged down in value judgements. If people prefer watching television to communing with nature that's OK. That's not bad. That's not evil. If people prefer golf courses to wetlands, that's fine. That's not bad. That's not evil. Let us not make value judgements. But... the paths we have chosen and continue to choose have not and will not lead to the outcomes we aspire toward. The decisions we are making are preventing us from achieving our objectives we say we wish to achieve.

Relatively speaking, as always, it may or may not be 'bad' or 'evil' in a culture-specific sense to put harmful chemicals in foodstuffs---it is simply that to do so will not lead to desired outcomes such as that what we eat should taste good and be health-giving not health-destroying. Having 187 varieties of hair-spray available on supermarket shelves is not bad, it's not evil. But it works against the achievement of stated objectives in terms of preserving natural resources, minimising waste, minimising pollution etc

Personally, I believe it's too late. I believe we're heading for extinction in a matter of decades. Even if we woke up right now, and understood the plight we have put ourselves in, and immediately started to put things right, that it would still be too late to prevent our imminent demise. Remember the canary in the coal mine? How the death of the canary would be a warning sign to the miners of the approach of toxic gas?

Well, our children are the canaries today. And the ever-growing number of young people self-mutilating, committing suicide, turning to drugs and alcohol is a warning sign to us of the approach of doom. In effect, our young people are saying to us: "We don't like this world, this culture you have created. In fact we hate it so much we would rather die, or slice our arms and legs with razor blades, or smash our brains and bodies with ice, or high speed street racing, etc, etc".

And here's a story to illustrate the nature and scope of the problems facing us today.